Can women ‘see’ clutter? A Bleach and Tonic special investigation.

We recently parted company with our cleaner.  It’s a long story and we don’t really want to go into it, in case she is one of the tens of thousands (!) of readers of this blog.

Suffice to say, we were taunted by trepidation of making the call.   Timid, we talked with Mrs Gin about how to sugar coat the lie. In the end, Mrs Gin grabbed the phone and  did it.  Grim-faced, thin lipped, she foreswore she would have no such qualms about making the call, and would have no need to lie, either.  She would deliver some home truths (*)

In the end, though, she told our cleaner we had had a mental breakdown, had given up our job and, as such the family was now living in penury.

Mrs Gin hung up the telephone and looked at me in quiet triumph.

This has meant that, regrettably, we have had to start doing our own ironing again.  We do this on Sunday evenings, watching Morse on YouTube.

The clothes we ironed for Mrs Gin last Sunday (‘The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn’ -our jealousy of poor old Mr Quinn when Mrs Gin starts on about her day at work….-) were still on the chair ready to be taken up 6 days later.

6 days?!?  How can she not see those clothes over the course of over 1 MILLION seconds?  Incredible, you might think.  But you would be wrong.

“HOW can she leave that towel on the floor / the clothes at the top of the stairs / the black depression in my heart / the dust on the bedside table” we wonder, awed.  The answer is not that she ignores them. No.  It is that she simply does not see them.

We wade our ways through jungles of clutter, of pens, of papers, of shoes and boots, of bras, towels, forks, teabags, plastic bags, handbags and sad bundles of rags.

“Oh leave that there” she will say, as we tidy for the fortieth time that day.

“I might use that in a bit” she’ll add.

“Do we dare snort in disbelief?”  we wonder. “No.”

The clutter breeds and shifts. Moving through the house we are assaulted by it.  Mounds of it. Constant change. Woman made chaos spilling everywhere. Plastic dementia.

We wander, confused, on the way to the biscuit barrel.

A king, lost in our ever shifting kingdom. Airily, she – a mere servant girl -waltzes through. Oblivious.


Mrs Gin is incapable of seeing mess.  Simply incapable.

It is so unfair.



However, this week we have seen the flipside of this incredible development in human evolution.

She cannot fucking tell the difference between normal telly and HD either!!!


Recently, on the spur at John Lewis we bought a new HD TV.  Our old one looked like this and was an incredible 5 (five) years old.



The new one was a bit fiddly to set up, and contains a ‘content store’ we don’t really understand. But it is incredible.  It’s like being there.  Hyperreal.

But not for Mrs Gin.  She peers at it above her spectacles as we flip from BBC1 HD back to normal

“Nope, I just can’t see the difference” she says.

“LOOK woman, LOOK” we cry as we flick.

“Standard” flick

“HD” flick

“Its the same channel”

“It’s NOT.” We howl “look.  Look.  LOOK!”

“It is.  And anyway, who wants to see ‘Look North West’ in HD?”

“That’s not the point” we say and look at her in quiet triumph.   But she is not looking at us.  She is looking at Eno, the Look North West Weather girl.

“What the fuck is she wearing?” Mrs Gin mutters.

(For once, she is not wrong: )

So it would appear to be true. Women can’t ‘see’ clutter. Not so fast though. When we talk about this to our sister in law, Ms Tonic, in her spotless Wythenshaw town house she complains. It is her -she says- who  purges the clutter in her house.

A thought strikes us:

“Can you see HD? ” we ask.
“Of course” she says. “Did you see what Eno was wearing last night?”

So, there we have it: women can see clutter. But only if they can also see HD

Is it worth being able to notice clutter so you can see HD?  No, of course not.  The clutter clogs the house like cholesterol.  On the stairs, the floors and the chairs. Even around the television.  The beautiful, beautiful telly.  It’s cold comfort but it’s a comfort none the less.  A comfort rendered in 4k

  • She sadly was not lying

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